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Historic New Holland church closing its doors

POSTED: November 16, 2013 12:01 a.m.

New Holland United Methodist Church in Gainesville, which opened at the turn of the 20th century, will hold its final worship service Sunday.

The Rev. Paul Youngblood said the Gainesville congregation has dwindled to the point it couldn’t afford the costs of operation. Recently, there have been only five active members.

“We just reached a point where we were too small to continue,” he said. “Churches are basically living entities; sometime they thrive, and sometime they close.”

Tuesday night, the congregation gathered to decide on a course of action. After some discussion, the decision was made to close.

Located at 2 Spring St. in the New Holland community, the church was built in the early 1900s by the Pacolet family and originally housed both the local Methodist and Baptist congregations. 

In the early 1950s, the New Holland Baptist Church moved two blocks away and the building was deeded to the New Holland Methodist congregation.

Youngblood has been with the church for the past 2« years and suspects the congregation has been slowly shrinking for the past two decades.

“We have a very small group, and most of the members are elderly,” he said. “It’s a very close-knit group. ...We got together and discussed plans, and right now everyone is planning to go to other churches in the area.”

Because Youngblood is a part-time minister, he may be out of a job. The United Methodist Church may post him at another position if available, but he is unsure whether that will happen.

The congregation signed the church deed over to the Gainesville district of the UMC in hopes they will reopen the building sometime in the future.

“Most churches close forever, but in this case it should only be temporary,” Youngblood said. “It is a beautiful building, nice property and in an area that is really starting to grow.

“So I am certain that there will be a Methodist church here in the future.”

A few church members will share their memories at the final service at 11 a.m. Sunday. UMC District Superintendent Richard Chewning will deliver a message.


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